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Home / Strategy / Book excerpt: ‘Exploitative Play in Live Poker’ by Alexander Fitzgerald (Win a free copy!)

An excerpt from Alexander Fitzgerald’s Exploitative Play in Live Poker in which the poker pro sets aside “GTO” play to show players how best to profit from others’ mistakes.


Over more than a decade as a pro, Alexander Fitzgerald has collected more than $3.5 million in tournament earnings around the world both online and live, final tabling EPTs, multiple WCOOPs and FTOPs events, along with practically every regular tournament online.

Subtitled “How to Manipulate Your Opponents Into Making Mistakes,” Exploitative Play in Live Poker concentrates on teaching players how to take advantage of opponents’ missteps and as a result consistently force them outside of their comfort zone.

The following excerpt, “Value Betting Turns,” appears in the chapter “Getting Value.” Here Fitzgerald explains why players too often shy away from betting a second time for value when in position on the turn. Read it carefully, then see below how you can win a free copy of Fitzgerald’s book.

Value Betting Turns

Let’s take a simple situation. You’ll be on the button again. Let’s say you have 100 big blinds. It’s folded to you. It’s a slightly larger tournament, and everyone is on their best behavior so far. You raise on the button to 3x. The big blind calls. You have J-9s. The board comes Q♦ 9♦ 2♥ . He checks to you. You continuation-bet, because while you should be checking some percentage of the time, your opponent is not a computer who plays optimally. His name’s Bobby and he really likes the show Staten Island Hustle. He calls you. The turn is the 2♣ . He checks. What do you do?

When I see someone check here, it makes blood shoot out my nose. I always ask,

“Why don’t you bet here? He’s not a superstar. He’s just calling you with all his diamond draws and J-10 combinations. Not to mention 10-9s, 9-8s, 9-7s, maybe even 9-6s. He could also possibly call again one more time with 8-8 and 7-7. Why did you check?”

“Well, if he check-raised me I was going to vomit.”

This is the biggest BS response that’s possible in poker circles. If a guy check-raises you there, is second pair ever good? Generally, no. What you’re really telling me is, “I have second pair and I feel entitled to turn it over at the end and see if it’s good, and damn it, it should be good. Because I’m special.”

Sometimes, you’re going to get bluffed in No Limit Hold’em. It happens. Kobe Bryant didn’t sink all of his shots either. But generally, people do not check-raise enough here to make you consider calling. When I tracked live and online hands the numbers came out to around 5-7%. That’s generally sets that slowplayed, because that’s about the percentage of the time you have those hands. To bluff here, your opponent would have to be check/calling the flop with 7-7 and then turning it into a bluff on the turn. When was the last time you did that from the big blind? Exactly. No one does this enough. It’s a high stakes play that rarely makes its way into the general poker population.

So, just bet and take your money. Your guy will call or fold 95% of the time, which also allows you to have another benefit. If he calls you on that turn, he is going to check to you on the river 99% of the time. That’s not a typo or hyperbole. When I tracked hands, I literally found it to be 99% of the time. When people do lead out, it’s almost always a draw that they hit. Once in a blue moon you catch a guy bluffing there, but it’s very rare. I found one guy who led second pair for value. One. He is also one of the best players I have ever seen play, so I don’t think that move is normal in the general population. If they just call you or fold to you 95% of the time, then they check to you on the river 99% of the time, then you have effectively “bought the showdown”.

If you would like to just check now you can do so. If the card is favorable to you, then you can bet. All the control is in your hands. The other reason I hate checking on the turn is because… people love calling, because it’s a freeroll to greatness. They don’t like bluffing, because it’s a freeroll to look stupid. Pot controlling used to be a dynamite move. People would take random shots constantly. You would just check and collect the chips. Those players are gone now. The pot control is a relic of a bygone era. You want money? You make them pay to turn over their mediocre hands. They still haven’t figured out how to fold yet.


Want a chance to win a free copy of Fitzgerald’s book? It’s easy.

First, find the answer to the following question in the excerpt: When Alex Fitzgerald tracked hands played live and online, in what percentage of those hands did players check-raise the turn?

Got the answer? Good. Now tweet your answer to @DBPoker1 by Friday, October 11. There will be a random drawing among the correct responses, with the winner getting a free copy of Exploitative Play in Live Poker.

Exploitative Play in Live Poker is available in paperback, as an e-book, and as an audio book at D&B Poker.

D&B Publishing (using the imprint D&B Poker) was created by Dan Addelman and Byron Jacobs 15 years ago. Since then it has become one of the leading publishers of poker books with titles by Phil Hellmuth, Jonathan Little, Mike Sexton, Chris Moorman, Dr. Patricia Cardner, Lance Bradley, Martin Harris and more, all of which are available at D&B Poker.

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